Monday, August 13, 2018

2018.08.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 13:1-4

Questions for Littles: How many souls should be subject (v1)? To whom should they be subject? Where does all authority come from? Who has appointed the authorities that exist? If we resist authority, what do we really resist (v2)? If we resist authority, what will we bring upon ourselves? To what kind of works are rulers a terror (v3)? What should we do, if we want to be unafraid of authority? From whom also, then, will we get praise? Whose minister to us is the authority (v4)? For what purpose? When should we be afraid? What does the authority bear, and no in vain? What is the authority to be upon him who practices evil? 
From the Scripture for this week’s sermon, we were reminded of the significance of the fact that every man must answer to God. Authority was not our idea, it was God’s. Everyone is under authority, and everyone must answer… and ultimately everyone will answer to the Lord.

This is why we must never resist the idea of authority. In our sinfulness, we don’t like to be under authority, but God doesn’t need to consult us on how He operates His creation.

When God told Noah, in Genesis 9, that the one who sheds man’s blood must have his blood shed by man, God commanded the death penalty for murderers. Of course, God could easily kill all murderers Himself, but in giving that command, He established that there must be an authority who oversees, who investigates, who determines guilt, who carries out sentences.

Sadly, man corrupts authority—just as he corrupts all of God’s good gifts. So, there are authorities of whom we might rightly be afraid… IF God hadn’t said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”

Ultimately, if we do what is good, even if the immediate authority above us does not approve, God does. He will take vengeance upon any wrong done to us. He will even reward us—for Jesus’s sake!—for any good that we have done in Christ. The ultimate authority will even praise us!

Note that this logic only applies if it is God who determines what is “good” in v3-4. We recognize God’s authority by refusing all commands to do evil!

However, if we do what God calls evil, His justice will fully agree with the just punishments that we receive. And that is good reason to be afraid!
What authorities are over you? When and why must you obey them?
Suggested Songs: ARP95B “Today If You Will Hear His Voice” or HB146 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”

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